A new tax law will freeze property taxes for eligible Maine

A new law will freeze property tax increases for some older Mainers. In order to qualify, you must be 65 years or older and a permanent Maine resident who’s owned a primary residence in the state for at least the past ten years. “65 plus right?,” said Avesta Neighborworks director Nicole DiGeronimo. “A lot of Mainers aren’t millionaires; they’re living on fixed income … social security.” The tax relief initiative will prevent future tax increases for eligible homeowners in an effort to help seniors stay in their homes. People who qualify will have to re-apply every year.Given the lack of affordable housing stock in Maine, a foreclosure could lead to homelessness since many seniors don’t have any housing alternatives that fit within their budget. “There’s nowhere else for them to go,” DiGeronimo said. “We don’t have backup apartments, we don’t have an overflow of affordable living facilities for people.” With rising costs, it can be difficult for people on a fixed income to hold on to their property. This law will ease one part of their budget. Some advocates think it’s not enough. “I think is going to solve a very small problem and I’d love to see what else the state comes up with to tackle the big problem,” DiGeronimo said. The law goes into effect on Aug. 8. How it will be implemented and how effective it will be, is uncertain. Multiple local and regional tax assessors say they are still waiting for more details from the state government.“Until we get more information we have about a hundred questions,” said Cumberland County tax assessor Ben Thompson. Some are calling LD290, which was passed in May, a “sleeper bill”. “I think this was enacted under the radar and we’re all kind of surprised by it,” Thompson said. The state will reimburse local governments for all of the lost tax revenue created by the tax cut, but some local governments are concerned that the reimbursement could take a long time or be left out of future state budgets. “Even if it’s not lost and the state does step up and reimburse at 100%, it’s going to be what – probably 12-14 months later that the municipality actually receives a check,” Thompson said.

A new law will freeze property tax increases for some older Mainers. In order to qualify, you must be 65 years or older and a permanent Maine resident who’s owned a primary residence in the state for at least the past ten years.

“65 plus right?,” said Avesta Neighborworks director Nicole DiGeronimo. “A lot of Mainers aren’t millionaires; they’re living on fixed income … social security.”

The tax relief initiative will prevent future tax increases for eligible homeowners in an effort to help seniors stay in their homes. People who qualify will have to re-apply every year.

Given the lack of affordable housing stock in Maine, a foreclosure could lead to homelessness since many seniors don’t have any housing alternatives that fit within their budget.

“There’s nowhere else for them to go,” DiGeronimo said. “We don’t have backup apartments, we don’t have an overflow of affordable living facilities for people.”

With rising costs, it can be difficult for people on a fixed income to hold on to their property. This law will ease one part of their budget. Some advocates think it’s not enough.

“I think is going to solve a very small problem and I’d love to see what else the state comes up with to tackle the big problem,” DiGeronimo said.

The law goes into effect on Aug. 8. How it will be implemented and how effective it will be, is uncertain. Multiple local and regional tax assessors say they are still waiting for more details from the state government.

“Until we get more information we have about a hundred questions,” said Cumberland County tax assessor Ben Thompson.

Some are calling LD290, which was passed in May, a “sleeper bill”.

“I think this was enacted under the radar and we’re all kind of surprised by it,” Thompson said.

The state will reimburse local governments for all of the lost tax revenue created by the tax cut, but some local governments are concerned that the reimbursement could take a long time or be left out of future state budgets.

“Even if it’s not lost and the state does step up and reimburse at 100%, it’s going to be what – probably 12-14 months later that the municipality actually receives a check,” Thompson said.